Los Angeles Panoramas, 1999 John Divola

This project involves photographing small generic buildings in city of Los Angeles and adjacent areas. These buildings have been chosen by their function and these functions are indicated by some manner of signage. The buildings are churches, adult book stores, bars, liquor stores, and psychics. The photographs are panoramic 50.5x16.5 inches with several images printed 30x90. The structures described are located in the center of the frame with the image including a broad adjoining landscape of adjacent buildings.

This work is a continuation of prior bodies of work that focused on differing, but related, categories of desire. The body of work preceding these panoramas described isolated houses in the high desert at the urban edge. It was the desire to be outside, or beyond, the cultural that interested me. With this current work it is hard to characterize a specific desire which is being addressed. "Transcendence" is perhaps too loaded and narrow but all of these buildings are places that people go to looking for physical or mental change or an intensity of experience. There is, for me, some sort of resonance between the depth of these desires and the mundane and generic look of the buildings that promise to fulfill them. In addition, I am also interested in constructing a collective Southern California landscape.

The panoramic form is of interest because it allows me to describe the broad context in which these buildings exist. I am using a panoramic camera. The negatives are then scanned, digitally color corrected, and the final prints are made on a new photographic printer, the Lightjet, which uses red, green, and blue lasers to print directly from a digital file onto color photographic materials. This printer produces images of amazing clarity and quality that far surpass what is available with conventional analog technology.